Allianz-backed underwriting agency GT Insurance, which has close ties to Australia’s transport logistics industry and describes itself as a “fairness-focussed” business, has found an opportunity to make a positive difference to mental health and help improve the sector’s working environment.
A founding sponsor of the recently launched Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds (HHTS) foundation, GT Insurance has not only provided financial support but has also been busy promoting the national-level initiative – the goal of which is to deliver a unified mental health and well-being strategy for stakeholders within the road transport logistics industry.
“Mental health is something that can affect anyone regardless of social, economic, or cultural background, so we need a unified approach,” GT Insurance chief executive Tony Dodd (pictured above) told Insurance Business. “HHTS works in collaboration with many well-known mental health organisations including Beyond Blue and Lifeline.”
According to interim CEO Lachlan Benson (pictured below), among the things that HHTS wants to achieve is to raise the number of people trained in mental health first aid at transport and logistics facilities, including roadhouses, across the country.
Benson explained: “By having people in those locations who are trained in mental health, we will actually be providing a support network to drivers out on the road to the point that if they have a problem, they can raise their hand and there’ll be someone there to help them, or equally there’s someone there who’s trained to recognise someone with a problem.”
Aside from training and education, the other key areas of focus for HHTS are individual well-being and policies and procedures standardisation.
“Every company has its own policies and procedures when a transport driver goes into it,” noted Benson in an interview with Insurance Business, “and so it’s very different processes wherever you go. And if we can actually standardise that so that everyone follows the same process and procedures, it’ll destress the working environment.
“And then the third pillar is around individual well-being – diet, exercise, nutrition. Obviously, [given] the nature of the lifestyle of driving and working in logistics facilities with shift work and often long hours, what we want to do is to encourage healthy exercise, healthy eating, because that’ll lead to individual personal improved well-being.”
The interim chief went on to characterise the initiative as a “national industry-for-industry answer to the challenge of tackling mental health” in the sector through the creation of an agreed national framework for best practice mental health and well-being care in the industry. He said previous undertakings, while there have been and continue to be many good ones, were mostly localised or company-specific.
Meanwhile for Dodd’s camp, which is “extremely proud” to be a founding sponsor, supporting HHTS is GT Insurance’s way of “doing our bit to help truckies get home at night.”
From the risk perspective, the benefits of promoting mental health in the transport logistics space are clear. Simply put, failing to address the issues translates to higher chances of mental health disabilities and accidents – areas that the likes of GT Insurance are adept at.
“It’s fantastic that GT Insurance is involved,” added Benson, “and it’s actually critical to our success. Because these are the companies that have heavily invested in understanding risk in this industry, and without their data and information it’s very hard for us to be able to quantify the problems and the challenges in the sector.
“So they are really helpful to us in terms of providing evidence-based information around the nature of the problem; the types of claims that they’re experiencing in the industry. But also we can see that if we actually improve mental health outcomes, they should be able to correlate that in their own statistics around reduced claims.”